A Shout Out

A Shout Out

During my writing hiatus, especially when I felt the least inspired, I had a list of blogs that I could count on to provide some creative spark. Here’s a big shout out to you lovely writers!

Joy The Baker – Joy, thank you for your wit, tips, and recipes. Your “Let It Be Sunday” posts are one of my favorite versions of a weekly round-up. Congrats on your move to New Orleans!

Mrs. Lilien – Kelley, our rhymes always put a smile on my face and often make me crave a drink. P.S.- Baby Truman is adorable!

Smitten Kitchen – Deb, our recipes are spot on and your love for chocolate make me feel like we’d be fast friends.

A Cup Of Jo – Your easy and candid writing style makes me feel like I am a part of the greater conversation. Joanna, our post about postpartum depression provided some much needed solace during April-June.

The Sartorialist – Street style at its very best; the captured moments explore and interesting balance of perception and perspective. Scott, your India series makes me nostalgic for my roots and childhood.

The Glamourai – Fashion, styling, travel, my daily dose of cool as curated by Kelly. So envious of your passport!

From Me To You/Ann Street Studio –  Jamie, you truly inspire me to take more and better pictures. You provide so much beauty and joy through your cinemagraphs.

Love Taza – Naomi, I hope to someday be able to follow your working model so I can spend more time with my son. Thanks for always adding a sprinkle of fun to everything. Congrats on the soon-to-arrive baby!

The Sophisticated Gourmet – A man who can cook. Need I say more? Kamran, I am looking forward to reading your book.

Other great reads: The ShutterbeanThe Pioneer Woman101 Cookbooks, The Daily Muse, Atlantic Pacific

Photo: The holy city of Varanasi, India by The Sartorialist on Instagram

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Back On The Radar

Back On The Radar

I’m back. I know I left without any notice. I’m extremely sorry for just falling off the radar. Thank you to all those who reached out and checked-in. People are not kidding when they say that having a child is life-changing. I continued to write a bit during my maternity leave, but upon returning to work after 12 weeks post-delivery, time was no longer my friend. In the beginning, consumed with a continuous state of exhaustion, I was lucky if I had the opportunity to eat dinner before 10pm. Any and everything that did not require my immediate attention quickly fell by the wayside, including 17 Parkside, the gym, and seeing friends, to name a few. For a couple of months, I had forgotten who I was and what I really wanted since all of my energy was focused on Rian. I was, and still am to some degree, battling that constant sense of guilt about leaving Rian at home for a ten hour span. Yes, he is in the best of hands with my mother-in-law caring for him, but I always feel like I’ve left a part of my heart at home. I’ve heard numerous times that it is only natural to feel this way, but nonetheless, it simply stinks.

Right around the time that Rian celebrated five months, I began feeling like myself again. I started striving for ways to establish a new balance between work and life at home. I realized that it was normal to doubt my skills as a mother, miss the one-on-one time with my husband, and feel like I was being judged by loved ones. And then, something clicked. At the end of the day, the only person who could change the way I felt, was me. Slowly but surely, I made actual plans to see friends, I started reading my old favorite publications and blogs, and I learned to better manage my time. I was getting excited about writing again and connecting with a larger community.

Rian is now eight months old. Although my emotions (aka hormones), on occasion, still get the best of me, I finally feel creative again. My energy level is back. My sense of humor is back. My self-confidence is back. Most of all, there have been a lot of learnings in my first few months of motherhood (more to come on this). Having a baby is certainly life-changing. With each passing day, I become more certain that my life has only changed for the better.

Photo: Rian at 14 days by Amanda Manthey

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A View From Above

A View From Above

One of the things that immediately connected Maithil and I when we first met was our love for travelling and exploring new places. If our jobs/lives allowed for it, we would ideally take a one to two week vacation at least once every season. In the meantime, we keep a running list of places we’d love to visit. Daydreaming is the first step to making your desires a reality, right? These breathtaking images help me see some of my favorite cities in a whole new light, especially #3, #14, #21, and #27.They make me want to pack my bags and jump on a plane. But, I guess I’ll have to wait until Rian is a bit older! (Also, how amazing are these airport aerial views.)

Image from The San Francisco Globe

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Vegetarians in NYC

Vegetarians in NYC

The great city of New York has no shortage of restaurants. You can find every kind of cuisine to satisfy your heart’s desire, with the taste level ranging from scrumptious to how are they still in business? But not all of the good ones are vegetarian friendly. And no, having a wonderful salad as the only vegetarian entree option does not count. In this list of NYC’s best vegetarian friendly restaurants by Serious Eats, it is clear that a non-carnivore will have plenty to choose from, be it Indian, Japanese, Italian, Middle Eastern, or any other culture (almost). Some of my favorites from this list include: L’Artusi (this comes as no surprise to anyone who knows us – the spaghetti and the hazelnut torta are out of this world), Taim (the best falafel in town), Saravana Bhavan (haven’t been to the one in Flushing but the Edison, NJ location hits the spot when I am craving authentic South Indian fare, which was a frequent occurrence when I was pregnant), and ABC Kitchen (farm-to-table done right, with a lot of roasting in-between and a side of a celeb sighting if you’re lucky).

The Roasted Carrot Avocado Salad from ABC Kitchen

The Roasted Carrot Avocado Salad from ABC Kitchen

A few that did not make their list but surely make mine:

Co.: I might even go as far as to say that this is my favorite pizza place. The stracciatella is my current favorite.

Cafe Gitane: Go there for brunch and get these three: the avocado toast, the couscous (add their house made harissa for an extra punch), and the orange blossom waffle. And of course, whatever else piques your fancy.

Caracas Arepa Bar: A Venezuelan staple at its best. Almost all of the warm, sweet and savory arepas can be made vegetarian. The most important topping to any of the arepas? Their “crack” sauce (pictured below). Just try it, you will thank me later.

caracas

Do you have a go-to or a favorite restaurant in NYC? Do share.

Top Image: courtesy of L’Artusi

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Email Addiction

Email Addiction

Being home for maternity leave, at times I feel a bit disconnected from the outside world. Rian is too young to take out everyday and as a result, there are days when I do not have the opportunity to leave the apartment at all. My main form of communication with others is now email or social media and the phone if the time allows for it. Every time I find myself on my phone or computer, I cannot help but check my email (even if I’ve just checked it less than an hour ago). Most of the time, I just have unimportant emails that do not require a response and simply end up in my trash. But still, I cannot shake the compulsion to check, it’s clearly a type of addiction. But come on, you can totally relate as well. You’d be lying if you said no! The flowchart above, by Wendy McNaughton, made me chuckle because it’s spot on. How often do you check your email/facebook/twitter/instagram?

Also, this chart makes me want to get The Best American Infographics 2013.

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Meet Rian

Meet Rian

Meet the newest addition to our family, Rian Desai Patel. He arrived at 8:50pm on March 29, 2014, weighing 6 pounds 9 ounces and measuring 20 inches. We are still getting to know each other and with each passing day, our unconditional love for him only multiplies. Rian, meaning king, is lean and long and quite the mover and shaker. He loves showering with us over his whale bathtub. He stares at you like he’s known you for ages. His most joy-inducing trait? His involuntary smiles while he is sleeping. Those make me melt every time and help immensely when I’ve reached the height of my sleep deprivation. Sweet Rian, we feel so lucky and blessed to have you in our lives.

Photo: Rian, day 1, with Maithil

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For All The Working Moms

For All The Working Moms

This working mom’s open letter to Gwyneth Paltrow made my morning. I tend to really like Gwyneth but this is clearly not her shining moment. Perhaps I should give her the benefit of the doubt, with her recent divorce and all. I will soon be a working mom and somehow making millions to shoot a movie (plus not having to really worry about childcare and healthcare) does not even come close to comparing to the day-to-day balancing act of being a “regular” working mom. Gwyneth, the grass does always seem greener on the other side. (But, in this case, I doubt it is.)

Image from Cricket’s Circle

 

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Stop That!

Stop That!

Last night, Maithil and I got to talking about how busy our lives have become. Of course we have visited this topic many times (especially in the midst of a hectic weekend), but we have never outlined actual steps to streamline our to-do lists in an effort to actively manage our stress levels. This week, we are making a manageable priorities list and planning our weekend well in advance. We will only add on last minute events/errands to our weekend list if both of us agree that it is a must. The weekend also has time baked in for some personal, alone time (time to go to the gym, read, etc.). I am curious to see if we are able to stick to our outlined plan and if it helps us feel a little less crazed.

Our conversation also made me realize that at times, stress is self-induced and so many issues can be resolved if we stopped doing things like trying to make things perfect or worrying too much. This list of 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself really helps put things into perspective. There are a few on here that I didn’t even realize that I was doing, though I clearly am.

How do you deal with stress or not having any downtime or time for yourself? Here are 5 simple ways to stay healthy when you are stressed (also great for when you have a newborn/kids, when you have a super busy week/month, when you are travelling, when you are playing catch-up with your schedule).

Photo: The view from our villa in Antigua, our honeymoon destination. Nearly a week of rest, relaxation, and absolutely no stress.

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Yeast, Cake, or Filled: Doughnut Plant

Yeast, Cake, or Filled: Doughnut Plant

As a kid, my only reference for a doughnut was Dunkin’ Donuts. I discovered Apple Cider, farm fresh doughnuts when I went apple picking as a high schooler. In college, my doughnut vernacular expanded even more, fully understanding and appreciating the differences between the cake and yeast versions of this treat. In the past couple of years, I have noticed the rise in doughnut varieties, especially in NYC (home of the cronut craze). My favorite spot in the city is Doughnut Plant. They have a slew of yeast, cake, and filled doughnuts, Tres Leches and Blackout being my treats of choice. Although both are cake doughnuts, they are surprisingly airy and moist. Plus, they are free of trans fat, eggs, preservatives, and artificial flavorings and colors. Craving one yet? I surely am.

the wall decor

the wall decor

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Blow Dry Like A Pro

Blow Dry Like A Pro

As someone who has grown up with curly hair, I have always been slightly envious of those who have voluminous straight or wavy hair. I have grown to love my curls over the years, especially after I figured out the right products and the right kind of haircut (I’ve suffered through many caret cuts and fought frizz in my quest for the perfect products). One of my favorite beauty guilty pleasures is getting my hair blown out after a haircut or for a special occasion; it always adds a little pep-in-my-step when I leave the salon. My goal is to eventually master the salon blow out at home. Some of my girlfriends who have been straightening their hair since grade school (I remember when flat-ironing was THE thing to do) have their blow dry routine down to a T. But, as a novice, it takes me a few hours and a ton of energy (my arms always feel so tired afterwards). The worst part? It never looks as great as a salon job.

Recently, I came across this tutorial which seems very promising. Plus, how gorgeous is the color of her hair? I am curious to try it to see if my results even come close to this.

Do you have a blow dry routine? What tools and products do you use?

Photo credit: my brother-in-law (at a family party); Hair cut and blow out by Keelin at Glen Goldbaum 72 Salon

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